-Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
Warning: This story takes place the days immediately post book seven and so contains many, many spoilers. So, if you are one of the three people in the solar system who have yet to read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" you might want to turn back now.
The Black Tomb
Professor Severus Snape's black robes billowed around him as the late spring breeze picked them up and tossed them about his still body. He spoke not a word, moved not a muscle, yet his face looked as stern and formidable as ever as he slowly moved up the aisle. In a chair near the front a boy-man with black hair ,glasses and a famous scar was sure he had seen Professor Snape's chest move.
And so he watched closely, waiting for the moment that Snape would turn and fix him with those piercing black eyes and draw in a deep breath before shouting an insult about the boy-man's father and following it up with some curse designed to humiliate him.
But Severus Snape's magic was reduced now to a role in the boy-man's memories , just as Snape's breathing was but an illusion.
This was the reason they had joined here today after all...
Just behind Severus Snape's levitating body walked the only former death eater in attendance. Lucius Malfoy, his pale white blond hair pulled back with a black ribbon, bowed his head in reverence as he escorted his longtime friend to the black marble plinth that awaited him.
As the procession passed the boy-man, he...Harry Potter, sat quietly watching, thinking of the man, the enigma that was Severus Snape...former death eater, brilliant potions master, one time Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, headmaster, betrayer of Voldemort. And the role that meant the most to Harry and likely to Snape himself, the man who had loved Lily Evans so much that promised to protect her son and vowed to avenge her death, and in doing so, gave up his own life.
Harry looked up in time to see Lucius carefully lay Snape's body on the plinth, carefully fold his robes around him and adjust the thin pillow under his head. He pulled Snape's wand from a pocket and put it in Snape's hand and crossed his hands over his chest, he gave them a final touch, almost a caress, then joined his wife and son in the front row.
The day was overcast and a promise of rain hung over the small group that had joined by the Black Lake. It was the second time in just under a year circumstances necessitated that such a gathering be held here. Unlike the year before, aside from the temporary Minister of Magic, there were no dignitaries in attendance. No merpeople had arrived to sing, no centaurs stuck their heads out from the forest and no unicorns had appeared...
Nearly the only students and parents who had stayed behind had been those from the house that once was lead by the man being laid to rest, Slytherin.
The house heads were present to represent the other houses, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, a few students who had somehow managed to hear the truth about Professor Snape. Still, too many others in the wizarding world thought Snape was a murderer, that he had murdered Albus Dumbledore in cold blood and they stayed away in droves.
But when Harry Potter thought of Snape now, he remembered someone else. Snape, the one who uttered the counter jinx over and over again in his first year that stopped Professor Quirrel from tossing him from his broom during his first Quidditch match. Snape who tried to teach him Occulemency even though Harry was being a snotty git,barely trying, and never once practiced.
It was Snape who made the Wolfsbane potion for months for Professor Lupin and kept Sirius's whereabouts a secret, it was Snape who was brave enough to put on the mask of a murderer to protect the honor and reputation of Albus Dumbledore and the future of Draco Malfoy, and it was Snape who cast the silver doe that lead Ron Weasley to the place where Harry was drowning only a few months before. How many time's had Snape saved Harry's life that he didn't and would never know about?
Harry knew, better than anyone else... Snape was deserving of better than this, after all he had risked, after all he had lost, even all that he put up with from Harry over the years. All the cheek, all the fights with Malfoy, all the gossip and snide remarks over the years. Oh yeah, Snape deserved much, much more. Snape deserved better...
...and it was because of this that Harry Potter felt even more miserable than he had on the day a year ago when they had laid Albus Dumbledore to rest.
Harry hadn't realized that he had become so immersed in his own thoughts until he felt a gentle tug on his hand pulling him back from miles away. He looked over at Ginny and she nodded to the front.
Four centaurs had come from the forest and they pulled their bows back, aiming their arrow's so they would arc over the black marble plinth. At the same moment a single voice lifted over the Black Lake as the merpeople chieftainess appeared . Harry realized he could understand her words. He looked around and realized that everyone could, for the chieftainess was using a kind of mega phone that Professor Dumbledore had invented, it worked as a voice translator and now the chieftainess was singing beautifully into it. A soft, haunting melody carried on the breeze to wash over those who sat in attendance ...
Rest now our beloved one
Calm your tortured heart
your time here is done
now a new life you must start
Leave behind your earthly woes
Shed your scarred human skin
Forget the pain of the life you chose
Now you begin again
Though were sad to say goodbye
For happiness you have a new lease
You have wings now, you can fly
And in your soul... live peace.
The four arrow's lifted into the air and arced high over the black marble plinth, their was an amazing trail of fire, light and smoke and when it had cleared the plinth had been covered in black marble.
Harry took a deep breath and then turned to Ginny. Ginny flinched.
"Ginny?" Harry squeezed her hand and looked at her questioningly "What's wrong?"
"I just...for a moment there it was like deja vu, last year all over again, so indulge my silly moment of insecure little-girlness," Ginny looked at Harry miserably. "but I have to ask...are you getting ready to tell me something horrible, like you never want to see me again?"
Harry felt his heart break all over again for the pain he had brought on the woman that he loved "God Ginny...I'm so sorry I hurt you last year. I promise, I'm never leaving you again..."Harry pulled her into his arms and whispered into her ear "I'm going to marry you."
Ginny looked over at Harry and smiled, wiping furiously at the tears on her face with the sleeve of her dress robes. "Really?"
"Of course! Once you finish school and I finish Auror training...But, I thought you knew, since the first time you laid eyes on me at platform 9 ¾, when you were ten and became desperately besotted with me. That's what Ron told me he over heard you telling Hermione when he was listening at the door."
Ginny smiled "Very funny."
"Okay, so I made it up. But it's true isn't it? You knew from the start we belonged together and you never gave up hoping. It has to be. " he brushed a windblown lock of hair behind her ear "You're so much cleverer than I am."
"Well" Ginny smiled a little "That's certainly true."
"I'm not going anywhere."Harry leaned forward and kissed her forehead, then he brushed his knuckles gently down her cheek. "I just meant to tell you...I'll be back in a minute." he motioned towards the tombs and Ginny nodded.
Harry kissed her cheek, got up, turned away from Ginny and walked toward the black marble tomb. The few people who had come had mostly cleared out right away after the funeral had ended so it only took him seconds to reach the place where the two greatest wizards, the two greatest teachers he had ever known, now lay.
He turned his back on the black tomb for a minute and brushed his hand lovingly over the white marble tomb of Albus Dumbledore. He himself had come to the tomb shortly after leaving the headmasters office and returned the elder wand to its rightful place, then repaired the defilement Voldemort, no,Tom Riddle, had done to the tomb.
"Were products of both these men." A voice spoke softly behind him and Harry spun around quickly, a year of living on the run had ingrained the habit of reaching for his wand and he stopped himself just short of pulling it from his pocket. It wouldn't have been proper to fight with Draco Malfoy between the two tombs.
Harry didn't answer, he just watched Malfoy as he lovingly ran his long fingered, perfectly manicured hand over Snape's tomb.
"I learned so much from Severus Snape, the good, and the bad."
"I learned plenty from Professor Snape" Harry smiled a little "Mostly to watch out for silent curses and how to sort leeches and wood lice without benefit of gloves."
Draco smiled as if recalling a beautiful memory "Sorting leeches and lice, he made me do that first year after I got detention for ratting on you to McGonagall about the dragon."
Harry laughed "It's a shame we missed our 7th year, we might have actually done some damage to each other."
"With Snape as headmaster..." Draco nodded "I'm fairly positive we would have."
"I wonder what it was like being here this year" Harry looked around to the castle "being under Professor Snape as headmaster."
"About the same I'm sure, except Gryffindor wouldn't have had any points, I would have been headboy, and you would have spent all your free time in detention." Draco grinned
"Very true, probably banned from Quidditch."
"Of course" Draco laughed and then his face turned horribly pale "There are things that I am glad I'll never know about."
"I heard Professor Snape did what he was able to, to protect the students, still...I heard things, things about kids being forced to discipline each other...and beatings" Harry shuddered involuntarily "from Neville and Seamus."
"Crabbe and Goyle were bragging about it" Draco took a deep breath through his nose and let it out slowly "And HE was making me do it to his death eaters when he wanted them punished. But the only thing was, he wanted me to enjoy it. He wanted me to love it, to beg to do it, like my aunt Bellatrix did."
Harry was speechless.
"But I fought it you see. And you know why I was able to, why Voldemort wasn't able to break me?" Draco smiled a little and Harry shook his head
"Because of him" Draco patted Snape's tomb and them Dumbledore's "And him. Snape and Dumbledore. Dumbledore, damn! Everything I ever heard about him was true and then some. I hardly ever spoke to him...still, he knew me better than I knew myself. He knew I wasn't a killer, even though I damn near killed two people while I was pretending."
"I remember. I knew it was you, no one would believe me." Harry smirked "Of course, Dumbledore and Professor Snape knew. Turns out they knew a lot of thing's I thought I was being so clever about." Harry laughed loudly "Funny how that works isn't it? Snape was the bane of my existence for all those years and in the end, Snape was secretly watching my back the whole time and Dumbledore was the one planning to kill me, well, so to speak."
"Well, If you think about it, I taught you how to stand up for yourself, to not take others rubbish."Draco laughed loudly "And you taught me not to piss someone off who is better at Defense Against the Dark Arts."
Harry laughed as Lucius Malfoy approached. He offered a sincere hand to Harry and Harry accepted it. The time for bitterness and grudges was over, it was time to move on.
"Draco, your mother is ready to leave, would you like to come with us in the car or will you be staying?"
"I have to come with you father, I don't have my broom." He nodded "I'll be along in a moment."
"Very well." Lucius nodded to Harry and turned and walked away.
"Well" Draco said "Were off for Majorca in two days, we'll be back for three and then I'm leaving in August to begin wizard secondary in Australia. So, I guess I won't be seeing you" Draco grinned "Don't feel you have to act heartbroken Potter."
Harry laughed and looked up at the man standing across from him. "I wish you success Draco, really."
Draco put his hand out and Harry flashed back to the last time Draco had offered his hand. Their first night at Hogwarts as first years.
"You don't want to go getting messed up with the wrong sort...I can help you there."
"I think I can tell for myself who the wrong sort are, thanks."
That night, Harry had turned his back on the offered hand. He looked at it now and grinned. His eyes flashed up to Draco's as he took it.
"Forgotten who the wrong sort are have you?" Draco smirked
"Nah" Harry smiled as he let go "Just adjusted the borders a bit."
Draco grinned as he turned away and Harry turned in the other direction to go collect Ginny so they could catch up to her family to head back to the Burrow. But as he passed he brushed his hands over the two tombs.
"Draco Malfoy's right, we are a product of these two men." Harry thought as he began to walk back to where he had left Ginny
He stopped a short distance away and looked back at the two tombs.
They stood in stark contrast to one another, one white, suggesting goodness and purity at the highest level. The other black, bringing to mind secrets and debauchery at it's darkest.
Albus Dumbledore lie in the white tomb, Yet Dumbledore had hidden a tainted past filled with secrets of his sister Ariana and dreams of wizards ruling over muggles.
Snape lie in the black tomb, but everything that had driven Snape the last seventeen years of his life had been based in his love for Lily Evans.
Two very different men, both ruled by love and secrets, and in the end, the price they paid was their lives...
They had educated Harry well about love these two professors. They were as different as night and day...but when it came to matters of the heart, they were the same. Both able to love, both were willing to die for those they loved.
Harry was still alive and now he was free to love, to finally have a future with Ginny...all because Snape had loved.
From somewhere in the back of his mind the memory of a voice nearly forgotten pushed it's way to the front of Harry's thoughts and he heard the words as if Albus Dumbledore was sitting across his desk, his bright blue eyes fixed on Harry with censure from over his half moon glasses once again.
"Professor Snape Harry"
"Yes, Sir" Harry whispered softly, allowing the breeze to pick up his words and carry them back to the black and white tombs, resting place of the two greatest teachers Harry Potter had ever known.
Harry smiled and turned back, back towards his future and to the woman he loved.
-Wow...I actually wrote a ONE-SHOT...No WAY is this turning into a continuation! LOL!!
Now, Please give me a cheap thrill and review!!
Remember, you reviews are what turns a writers frown upside down!!
-A/N "The Merpeoples Farewell" was written by me specifically for this story, please do not take it for use in your own fictions.